Today’s edition of quick hits:
* A pause? “Israel has offered to halt fighting for 12 hours in Gaza, a senior U.S. official said Friday. The pause in fighting would begin at 7 a.m. Saturday (12 a.m. ET), the official said. It was not immediately clear whether Hamas would also cease hostilities. Word of the offer came shortly after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said talks aimed at a seven-day humanitarian cease-fire in the Gaza Strip were bogged down in disagreement over ‘some terminology.’”
* “Day of Rage”: “Violence spread to the West Bank on Friday as enraged Palestinians protested Israel’s continuing military offensive in Gaza. At least five Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli security forces, according to Palestinian medical officials and local news reports, adding to the explosive atmosphere in the region and raising the specter of further unrest.”
* Ukraine: “Russia has stepped up its direct involvement in fighting between the Ukranian military and separatist insurgents, unleashing artillery attacks from Russian territory and massing heavy weapons along the border, Ukrainian and American officials say.”
* Border crisis: “President Obama said Friday that migrant children who cross the border and do not have ‘proper claims’ will be sent back to their home countries.”
* More on this on tonight’s show: “The House on Friday passed a resolution requiring authorization from Congress for a sustained presence of combat troops in Iraq.”
* Heartbreaking: “The doctor leading Sierra Leone’s fight against the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history has contracted the virus himself, government officials said. Sheik Umar Khan, 39, was on the front lines of battling the disease that has so far claimed 632 lives in three West African states, according to the World Health Organization. He is credited with treating more than 100 victims. And now he is one himself.”
* Occasionally, Republicans can be shamed into talking: “Key lawmakers are back at work on a possible deal to reform the Veterans Affairs Department, just one day after the talks appeared to break down.”
* Maybe the FAA’s decision wasn’t the result of a partisan conspiracy: “An Air Canada flight was forced to circle Tel Aviv, after rockets were fired at Ben Gurion International Airport on Friday, The Toronto Star reports.”
* Someone should let Darrell Issa know: “The federal watchdog tasked with enforcing the Hatch Act has cleared the White House’s political affairs office of any wrongdoing in violation of the 20th century law that bars political activity by executive branch employees.”
* When the right screws up U.S. diplomacy for no reason: “Sen. Ted Cruz will still hold all State Department nominations despite the fact that it could further delay the U.S. posting an ambassador to Russia, his office said on Friday.”
* Dear conservatives, if your entire argument for taking health care benefits away from millions is an example of Jonathan Gruber making a mistake, then you’ve already lost.
* Such a lazy meme: ‘One of the most common criticisms of presidents – especially struggling ones during their second term – is that they have lost control of events. This charge, which has been leveled at chief executives such as Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, has become a mantra lately in coverage of President Obama, who faces a stalled legislative agenda and crises in Ukraine, Gaza and at the border with Mexico.”
* Members of Congress still talk this way? In 2014? “During a Wednesday appearance on the conservative radio show ‘Faith & Liberty,’ Rep. Michele Bachmann accused the ‘gay community’ of pushing ‘deviancy,’ ‘tyranny’ and child rape.”
* Award-winning author and journalist Thomas Ricks said when it came to political ideology, he always played it right down the middle. Now, however, he’s moving left: “America’s changed, and so have I.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.